It’s not easy when you’re a parent. You have to look out for yourself, your kids, and sometimes even your spouse. You need help. Setting a healthy habit can do just that. If something good becomes a habit, that’s one less thing you have to worry about. When it comes to dental health, here are six ways you can help your family have good habits.
1. Focus on drinking water. Staying hydrated has a lot of benefits to your overall health. That’s because your body needs water. It’s in your blood, your cells, and more. That means it’s important to your dental health as well. Saliva helps wash away some of the food particles that get stuck in your mouth. This deprives harmful bacteria of their food, helping control tooth decay and gum disease. Plus, many cities in Alabama include fluoride in their drinking water. Fluoride repairs microscopic damage to your enamel, helping keep your teeth strong.
Water has no sugar, no caffeine, no carbs, and helps keep your teeth healthy. By drinking it regularly, you can help your family set this as a habit.
2. Only drink coke (even diet ones) and fruit juice as a rare treat. Most people know that sugar is bad for your teeth. That’s because the harmful bacteria behind cavities absolutely loves that stuff. The more sugar and carbs you eat, the more gets trapped around your teeth and gums for those bacteria. That’s why many people know to treat regular coke as an occasional treat. But did you know that fruit juices can have the same amount of sugar as a can of coke? Fruit juice is definitely a healthier option given the vitamins there. But if you’re looking to reduce sugar to have good dental habits, you should cut back on the juices as well.
Diet soda doesn’t have any of the sugar, but it does have a lot of acid. (So does regular stuff and even juice.) A tooth covered by diet soda and let to sit will soon corrode. That acid gives soda a good flavor, but it hurts your enamel. As above, encourage your family to drink water for the most part.
3. Cut down or eliminate tobacco use. This one is tough. You know how cigarettes, cigars, pipes, and chew are bad for you. That’s nothing new. However, all of that can hurt your teeth and gums as well. Smoke and chew will stain your teeth yellow sooner or later. If your body is trying to fight off gum disease, the nicotine will stop your immune system from working well. And of course, you’re more at risk for oral cancer.
Do e-cigs and vapes have the same detrimental effect? Unfortunately, we do not know for sure. There haven’t been enough studies done to prove those are safer or just as bad. However, anything with nicotine can hurt your body, including your dental health. The best thing for your family for many reasons is to quit or at least cut back a lot.
4. Use mouthguards for sports. Sports like tennis are not too rough. You can play those without much risk of an accident. Sports like football, however, are very rough. Even ATV or bike riding can be risky. That’s why wearing a helmet is recommended. It protects your skull and brain should you hit some bad luck and have an accident. When it comes to your teeth, those same accidents can chip, break, or even knock out your teeth.
Since you wear a helmet, you should wear an athletic mouthguard for the same reason. It protects your teeth should you have an accident. At our Decatur, AL dental office, you can get athletic mouthguards customized for your smile. This makes them safer and more comfortable to wear.
5. Brush and floss regularly so your kids can watch. Cleaning your teeth by brushing and flossing is standard dental hygiene. You know to do that regularly. By keeping your mouth clean, you reduce the chances of dealing with cavities, gum disease, even root canals. But how do you get your kids to do that? One trick is to let them see you doing it.
Kids are more perceptive than most adults realize. They see a lot. They notice what things you value and what things you don’t. If they hear you talk about brushing and flossing but never see you do that, they can assume it’s not that important after all. But when they notice how seriously you take brushing and flossing, they’ll be much more likely to follow your example.
6. Bring everyone into our Decatur, AL dental office every six months. Brushing and flossing at home are very important. Unless you have years of dental school training and specialized tools, however, you just can’t get your teeth completely clean. At our Decatur, AL dental office, our team has both. Your whole family can get your teeth professionally cleaned. Plus, early detection of dental problems is the key to making sure they stay small. Dr. Betts will provide a thorough exam each time, looking for signs of cavities, gum disease, oral cancer, and more.
Dr. Betts is your family dentist in Decatur, AL. If you are ready to schedule a new appointment for your family, call us today at 256-274-8680.